Everyone knows it is more efficient and affordable to generate repeat business from existing customers than to attract new ones. That is why customer retention and maintenance is a critical part of every business strategy. The flip side is also true – disgruntled customers can be costly to your bottom line. In fact, according to Andy Beal, the CEO of Talent Hero Media, a recruitment web design agency, a customer who is dissatisfied will tell 9-15 people about their bad experience. This can sabotage your reputation and have a considerable ripple effect.
However, do not despair; there is good news! There are many simple and inexpensive ways that you can improve your customer retention results to help grow loyalty and nurture relationships that will drive increased revenue.
Don’t just sell – educate
Closing the deal should not signal the end of your relationship. Education about your products and services should be ongoing. There is a significant opportunity to nurture your relationship with customers by offering training, market research and education to keep them coming back for more.
Surprise and delight
Customers expect to hear from you when it is time for them to pay a bill. Or when there is an upgrade or new product available. Or if they have lodged a complaint. But why not reach out when they least expect it? Send a note just to say thank you for being a customer. For no other reason than because you care.
Respond to inquiries quickly and enthusiastically
There is nothing more aggravating than the feeling that you are not being heard. When a customer needs help – either because something has gone awry, or because they require information – it is your responsibility to address their needs. Easy access to customer support is critical. Automated answering machines or offshore help centres can send a message that customer care is simply not a priority. Make sure inquiries are addressed swiftly and with genuine concern.
Provide loyalty benefits
A happy and engaged customer should be rewarded. The cost of a discount on a future purchase, or a nominal ‘perk’, is usually much less than the cost of acquiring a net new customer. Make the investment in your existing customer base and reward them for their repeat business.
The best way to retain customers is to understand what matters to them. And you simply cannot understand or appreciate what matters to them if you don’t ask. Take time to solicit feedback from your customers, and ask pointed questions about their feelings relative to your brand, products and services. And then take that feedback to heart – watch for common themes and integrate them into your customer marketing materials and your product/service enhancements.
Even marginal investments in customer support activities can go a long way in ensuring that your customers will keep coming back for more business. To learn more about the ways you can nurture your customer relationships, contact Miller Bernstein today.